November 30, 2012

This week in digital: Video load time demands and the spy in your smartphone

Written By Martin Sandhu

The two second rule
Everyone knows that speed on the internet matters, whether it’s the time to load a website or how fast your 3G connection actually is. But it seems web-users have some pretty high expectations when it comes to video.

You would expect video playback to perhaps be the one exception to the speed rule. No one is willing to wait for ages, but there is a mutual understanding that there’s a lot of data to load, right? Wrong!!

According to a study conducted by computer science professor Ramesh Sitaraman, after just five seconds 20% of users will abandon a short video, those trying to load a longer video will be a little more patient, but only by seconds. Sitaraman found that every second beyond a two second load time increases the rate of abandonment by 6%.

Smartphone or tracking device?
Smartphones are now invaluable to many, partly because of the amount of personal information they hold and the fact they go with us everywhere. But how does the data smartphone apps collect impact your privacy?

Location based apps are obviously key to this, building up a picture of when and where you like to go, who with and how often. This data can be very insightful for marketers and burglars too who can often see all the information publicly! Many apps used to ‘check-in’ to places don’t just monitor this, they look at your contacts, your phone ID and number, the numbers you call and the websites you visit…they’ve got quite a picture of you there hey!

Much of this data is used by marketers and advertisers to promote their products. You can of course turn off location services, but it does impact on the usability of your device and 74% of users have opted not to.

Wi-Fi delivers over three-quarters of all UK smartphone data
We may be eagerly awaiting the nationwide roll out of 4G but UK Android users currently send 78% of their data via wi-fi connections.

Predictably, the times that 3G is used coincide with commutes and working hours. Data from Nielson found that 3G use peaks just before the working day begins, at lunchtime and then again at evening rush hour. Whilst wi-fi usage increases every hour from 5pm reaching a peak between 11pm and midnight.

Unlocked iPhone 5 comes to the US
It’s a frustration that’s become the norm in the UK, if you want to buy a smart-phone it either comes with a fixed-term contract or it’s locked to just one service provider.

Apple have this week started to sell the iPhone 5 unlocked for its online US customers and it’s expected that the phones will hit the stores as early as today.